Obama’s uncle allowed to remain in US, judge rules

Save A federal immigration judge today allowed President Obama’s uncle, Onyango “Omar” Obama to remain in the United States, following a hearing in which the name of the president was invoked by the 69-year-old Kenyan who has been living here for some 50 years.

US Immigration Judge Leonard I. Shapiro issued his ruling from the bench. He said he believed Onyango Obama was a gentleman, a good neighbor, paid his taxes, and met the criterial for legal permanent residency, commonly known as a green card.

During the hearing, Onyango Obama testified, “I do have a nephew. He’s the president of the United States.”

He also contradicted the White House’s assertion that the president had never met him. Onyango Obama testified that his nephew lived with him in Cambridge for three weeks while the future president was a student at Harvard Law School in the late 1980s.

"" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border: 0px currentColor; vertical-align: bottom;"> Shapiro based his decision on a federal immigration law that allows people who have lived in the United States since prior to 1972 to apply for residency.

“Thank you, Your Honor,” Onyango Obama said after Shapiro’s ruling.

Onyango Obama, with the help of the president’s late father, came to the US in 1963 from their native Kenya under a student visa, which was renewed before finally expiring in 1970. He has not obtained any other right under US immigration laws since then, but said he obtained a valid Kenyan passport that was renewed a couple of years ago.

Immigration judges’ rulings obtained by the Globe through the Freedom of Information Act show that Onyango Obama was ordered deported in 1986 and 1989 and then lost his appeal in 1992. The issue of deportation arose again after Onyango Obama was arrested for drunken driving in 2011 in Framingham, where he lived.

In that case, he admitted that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him and served a year’s probation, attended an alcohol education class, paid fees, and the case was dismissed, a court official said.

After his arrest, he allegedly told an officer, “I think I will call the White House.” But Onyango Obama today testified he did not recall saying that to the officer.

Shapiro is the same immigration judge who approved an asylum request for Onyango Obama’s sister, Zeituni, in 2010. She attended today’s hearing to show her support for her brother and to testify on his behalf, but Shapiro said he did not need to hear from her.